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Finish 2018 Strong and Tackle 2019 With Confidence

With only one more quarter in 2018, it’s a good time to think about finishing the year strong.

For many marketers, the end of the year is their busiest season. Health insurers are up to their eyeballs in AEP (annual enrollment period). For retailers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fast approaching to herald in the holiday shopping season. You have campaigns to run, targets to meet, budgets to spend, and in between all of this, you need to plan for 2019.

To help inspire and guide you, I’ve created a summary of digital trends, strategies, and tactics I found particularly interesting, drawn from Mary Meeker’s annual list of Internet Trends.

1. Internet Usage Remains High Thanks to Mobile Users

Half of the world’s population is now online (3.6B people). While user growth is showing signs of slowing, the average person spends about six hours per day with a digital device. This is driven largely because of mobile dominance.

There are obviously demographic nuances to consider. For example, 10 years ago there was broad skepticism that you could even target a 55+ audience online. However, nearly 90% of individuals over 55 have access to the internet today. Nearly 80% of them have access to a smartphone.

Even with traditional marketing tactics, we need to consider what we want their online behavior to be after they interact with our marketing collateral.

2. Advertising on Mobile Poised to Grow

By nearly all measures, consumer attention is shifting to mobile, but advertising has not yet caught up. This appears to be an opportunity within all industries.

On average, advertisers allocate a mere 26% of their budget to mobile. Ad platforms, especially the Google-Facebook duopoly, continue to be the largest online marketing channels, providing the greatest opportunity to reach audiences through digital channels. However, both platforms need to continue to find ways to police their ad platforms for the content that is promoted within them.

3. Internet Privacy Concerns Present a Challenge for Marketers

Despite the recent data breach of nearly 50 million users on Facebook, concern about privacy has not increased significantly.

In fact, 25% of Americans would be willing to provide sensitive or personal information in exchange for a more seamless/friendly user experience and product improvements. Companies are now caught between a “rock and a hard place” because of the challenge to provide a better experience without asking too much or violating consumer privacy.

4. Healthcare Spending Is Up, Adopting Amazon-like Experience

Consumers are picking up a greater portion of their healthcare costs (mostly in deductibles). As prices for healthcare rise, consumers want to know where their extra money is going. (Hint: value and price remain key drivers.)

Many consumers want a modern retail experience to rival what they get à la Amazon. Most crucial: on-demand access and a simple way to pay. This is interesting not only because of the number of clients DMW has across the health insurance industry, but also for the effect that Amazon is having on seemingly unrelated businesses and industries.

One prominent example is plan we helped launch for Johns Hopkins Advantage MD. The focal point is the website, which was designed to educate and inform while generating leads. Compared to the previous year, 46% more site visitors, 72% more conversions, and engaged visitors spending 51% more time on site contributed to an overall 25% increase in sales over 2016. Johns Hopkins site and push adoption. 65+ market is massive.

5. “Alexa, show me growth of Voice Search.”

Speech recognition is reaching 95% accuracy and is now mainstream. Consumers are rapidly adopting these technologies – and thus behaviors – as they use their smartphones. Smart speakers and assistants are also seeing large growth. Amazon’s Echo user base went from 10MM to 30MM in 2017.

We view this as both an enormous opportunity and an enormous challenge. It’s an opportunity because it’s a new mechanism to leverage in order to reach your audience. It’s also a challenge because you cannot optimize on a visual interface. You must leverage opportunities like Search in order to get that coveted “position 0.” (Position 0 is what voice-based devices read when providing dictated results to users.)

6. AI Is on the Rise: How will it impact your industry?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more relevant to business. Growth is being fueled by Amazon, Google and Facebook – which enable easier data collection and processing. While this technology is still in its infancy, adoption will become essential in many industries. Unless there are large increases in staffing, the reality is that many organizations are simply not going to be equipped to assist the needs of consumers. Thus, the need of intelligent and automated technologies is going to become more and more important.

7. Subscriptions and Content Attract Users

Consumers continue to be drawn to content. They are increasingly willing to pay a monthly fee to access this content (e.g., 43% YoY growth for New York Times and 25% for Netflix). In industries such as transportation, US consumers are spending less on car ownership in favor of on-demand transportation. Uber saw a 50% increase in driver growth because, in densely populated areas like Chicago and NYC, it’s often cheaper to commute by Uber than by personal car. Other industries will continue to adopt subscription-based approaches to accessing information and services.

What do you think of the list? What stands out most to you? Most importantly, how prepared are your digital marketing campaigns for your busy season and 2019?

Let us know what questions you have regarding any of these points or the strategies DMW uses to ensure successful campaigns for our clients.